Are you stuck in your wine buying habits? Always buying from France or New Zealand? It’s time to celebrate English wine and branch out into the world of English wines.
You might be thinking that wine can only be produced in the truly sunny climates of Languedoc or Marlborough, but the chalky soil and climate in Southern England are great for making wine that’s similar in style to Champagne. A variety of grapes are grown including Chardonnay, Bacchus, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir.
Exton Park, in Hampshire, is producing some of the finest English wine on the market. The first English commercial vineyard was established in Hampshire and since then the area’s success has grown. The winery only uses its own fruit, so you’ll get a real taste of the Meon Valley.
The Blanc de Noirs is made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes. The broad range of flavours, including citrus and apple, will pair well with food. We particularly recommend chicken or seafood but the long finish will also stand up well to spicy dishes.
Another wine from Exton Park, the Blanc de Blancs is made with Chardonnay. This is a great alternative to Champagne, especially if you’re creating a menu of local and seasonal dishes. You’ll find citrus, toast, and honey flavours amongst the fizz. This would be a lovely wine to serve for a toast or a special occasion but it would also pair well with creamy pasta dishes or goats’ cheese. Very smart English wine.
Our final Exton Park wine is made with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. This is a very refreshing English sparkling wine that appears almost green in colour. It has lemon and passion fruit notes. You could pair this with pork or smoked fish, but it’s also excellent alongside fruit-based desserts.
Hattingley Valley was the first winery in the UK to be solar-powered. Based in Wield, East Hampshire, their 60 acres of south-facing slopes are perfect for vines.
This wine spent eight months in tank, with 10% in old Burgundy barrels, before undergoing the secondary fermentation (where the bubbles come from). It then spent four years ageing on its lees (adding more complex flavours). The residual yeast left after fermentation has softened the acidity and produced a biscuity, citrusy sparkling wine.
This award-winning wine is made with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The Hattingley Valley wines are also vegan, so they’re a great choice if you have guests with dietary needs. This wine spent 21 months ageing in bottle, which has produced a lovely peach flavour with toasty hints of brioche. We recommend serving this with any fish or seafood.
We’re venturing over to Dorset for this sparkling rosé wine. Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir are all used to produce a light and fruity wine. The pink colour comes from macerating the Pinot Noir grapes. This simply means soaking them and allows the colour from the skins of the grapes to seep into the wine. This wine pairs well with goats’ cheese or shellfish. You’ll find a lively fizz, or mousse, in your glass, with a taste of strawberries.
It’s time to try something new, beat your fear of homegrown wine and raise a glass to the incredible winemakers of England.
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